Poetry is passion, by form constrained
To find in words what minds disdain,
To seek the hearts raw depths restrained,
And pierce, to flow again
I was listening to a good, but overly-technical lecture on poetry, and realized that I didn’t really have a good definition of what poetry was. Then I started thinking about just what is it that makes poetry great (or awful, depending.)
For me, it’s passion — deep feelings, powerfully expressed. The structure of the words constrains the passion in such a way that the mind is engaged in comprehending the form just enough for the raw feelings of the heart to be both expressed and felt.
So I see the passion-given-structure as a way to break the dams built around our hidden, deeper selves, allowing feelings to flow as they should.
Anyway, that is why I so love to read and write poetry. It lets me find (both in the writing and in the reading) a deeper honesty of feeling than my mind will otherwise allow.
It has since occurred to me that this works for any art just as well. For me, anyway, this is the central definition of art: to express deep and true emotion in such a way that the mind’s defenses are bypassed, allowing direct communication with the heart.
Without the expression of deep and true emotion, it is merely intellectual exercise at best. Without the bypassing of the mind’s defenses, it is merely the statement of feeling, which may or may not be art.